Is the lottery still a big pull to South Africans?


There are few countries in the world that are quite as enthusiastic about the lottery as South Africa. Ever since it was founded in the early 2000s, millions of South Africans tune in to the lottery each week to see if they will get lucky.

Over the last decade, the South African lottery has exploded in popularity. This has resulted in a number of new players entering the market, providing South Africans with the hope that their financial dreams will come true.

But with several domestic and foreign lottery providers now operating in the South African market, the question is just how popular it remains, particularly as younger generations of South Africans find new ways to spend their cash.

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South African lottery

The rise of online betting, in particular, is proving to be a big obstacle to the continued success of the traditional lottery format. With so many young Africans having instant access to hundreds of different ways to bet, wager and gamble online, the South African lottery now faces more competition than ever. As such, there seems to be a growing digital divide between younger and older South Africans.

Is it the case that thanks to the rise of these new online betting platforms, we don’t see quite as many tuning in to check the latest South African PowerBall results? Or is the South African lottery as popular as it always was?

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The South African lottery: a brief history

 First founded in 2002, the South Africa National Lottery was an instant hit among South Africans. Within only a few weeks of opening, it had shifted around R70 million worth of lottery tickets. Since then, the South African lottery has truly gone from strength to strength, and it now hosts a number of different individual lottery draws.

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Why is the lottery such a hit with South Africans?

The reason why the South African National Lottery has proved such a hit is largely due to how the lottery itself is run.

Tickets are relatively affordable and easy to access, with the lucrative prizes on offer also helping to tempt South Africans. Additionally, the various prize divisions South Africans can potentially win it helps to keep their popularity high.

The success of the lottery has also been helped by the growing economic fortunes of South Africa itself – the country has been undergoing an economic transformation of sorts since the early 2000s.

It now has one of the healthiest economies on the continent, if not the healthiest, which has helped to lift millions of young, hopeful South Africans out of poverty. This has created a young population who have big dreams of a brighter future, which is a demographic that lotteries typically appeal to.

The popularity of the lottery over the last two decades has also been helped by rising wages in the country, with this newfound disposable income often being spent on leisure activities like the lottery.

The popularity of the Lotto is also undoubtedly helped by the fact that any winnings made from the lottery are not subject to any form of tax – which is even more of an incentive to play!

The South African PowerBall

The South African PowerBall is a relatively new entrant into the lottery market in South Africa. It is based on the popular US lottery draw and was unveiled to South African audiences in 2009.

Since then, it has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon among South Africans, with the PowerBall game fast becoming the most popular lottery draw in the country.

The PowerBall is popular for the enormous jackpots it gives you the opportunity to win, with these jackpots regularly beating South African records. In February 2019, the PowerBall jackpot reached a whopping R232,131,750 – the largest jackpot in South African lottery history to date!

The PowerBall also hit the headlines in December 2020, when it landed on an unusual set of numbers that caught the attention of the world media. The six winning numbers for that week were 5,6,7,8,9 and 10, which seemed unusual, for obvious reasons!

Despite the slim chances of landing on a perfect sequence of six numbers in a row, accusations of fraud were dismissed. A total of 20 people won a share of the jackpot, amid calls being made for a national inquiry.

The continued popularity of the Lotto – a generational divide?

 Although there is a growing generational divide between how South Africans play the lottery, it does not seem to be shifting much in terms of its overall popularity.

And despite the fact that younger South Africans tend to prefer using online betting platforms, the traditional lottery is still incredibly popular, with an estimated 82% of the country participating in bi-weekly lottery draws!



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